Are You Addicted to Crack Cocaine?
The crystal form of cocaine is known as crack cocaine, and it is sold in blocks knon on the streets as rocks. The color ranges from yellow to pale pink to white depending on the elements or substances used to mix (also known as cut) the drug. The drug is actually named for the cracking sound that occurs when the substance is heated, as the rocks are smoked in a pipe.
In the mid-80s, the widespread use of crack cocaine in inner city neighborhoods of big cities was termed the “crack epidemic.” Part of the drug’s popularity was because crack was easy to locate and cheap to buy. In many ways, the epidemic that was feared by the media never came about. But people still have found themselves in the grip of crack addiction and it is very serious.
The Manual of Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment firmly states “It is the most addicting form of cocaine and one of the most addicting forms of any drug.” Because it takes only eight seconds to reach the brain, the effects of crack are felt swiftly. This also is why dependence develops so quickly.”
If you have found yourself trapped in a cycle of crack dependency and you know it is time to stop, SubstanceAbuse.org is here to help. We can answer questions, link you to resources, and connect you with treatment. Give us a call at 800-487-1890 (Who Answers?) to get started.
Crack and Your Brain
Crack acts on the pleasure center in your brain and that is what begins the cycle that leads to dependence and then to addiction. When your brain encounters something that makes it happy such as a kiss from someone you love, or the smell of a delicious meal, it releases a feel-good chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sticks to receptors in the brain and when dopamine holds on to the receptors, you feel euphoric, or high. Drugs change the way that cycle works by causing more feel-good chemicals to release and the brain becomes flooded with them.
Because crack is smoked, it enters the blood stream very rapidly and quickly starts this cycle. The speed of the high and the come-down are critical to the speedy rate at which people can become addicted.
Tolerance and Withdrawal
The speed of the come-down fuels tolerance of the drug and tolerance leads to withdrawal and before you know it, you are using just to keep yourself from feeling withdrawal symptoms and that is addiction.
When you are using crack just to feel “normal” and to avoid the negative symptoms of going without, you will lose interest in everyday responsibilities and activities, like sleeping and bathing and eating. Those who become addicted lose interest in other areas of their life (eating, sleeping, hygiene). Instead, all of your energy will go towards obtaining, using, and recovering from crack cocaine.
One withdrawal symptom that you are likely avoiding is crippling depression. Every time you use, the depression will increase in harshness and it will eventually become so bad that you will try anything to escape it. If you can’t get your hands on more crack, you may experience severe suicidal thoughts. Crack withdrawal may even drive you to suicide.
Short-Term Signs of Addiction
After multiple uses, crack cocaine lays down a regular route for dopamine to follow. The more you continue to use, the more permanent that path becomes. As more drug use occurs, the route becomes more permanent. You will begin seeking out crack to keep dopamine flooding that path and it won’t be long until your brain demands it.
Some signs that you are experiencing the first symptoms of addiction and withdrawal include:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased rate of breathing
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Extreme sensitivity
- Unpredictable, sometimes violent, behavior
- Hallucinations, often the illusion of bugs burrowing under the skin
- Intense drug craving
Although these symptoms are terrible and most people would try their hardest to avoid them, the euphoria and the fear of further withdrawal sensations will keep people using. If you are ready to treat your crack addiction, you need help because it is a powerful drug and it will keep your brain hooked as long as it can. Call our helpline at 800-487-1890 (Who Answers?) to get the help you deserve.